An image-processing routine was developed to autonomously identify and statistically characterize flame-kernel events, wherein OH (from a planar laser-induced fluorescence, PLIF, measurement) appears in the probe region away from the contiguous OH layer. This routine was applied to datasets from two gas turbine model combustors that consist of thousands of joint OH-velocity images from kHz framerate OH-PLIF and particle image velocimetry (PIV). Phase sorting of the kernel centroids with respect to the dominant fluid-dynamic structure of the combustors (a helical precessing vortex core, PVC) indicates through-plane transport of reacting fluid best explains their sudden appearance in the PLIF images. The concentration of flame-kernel events around the periphery of the mean location of the PVC indicates they are likely the result of wrinkling and/or breakup of the primary flame sheet associated with the passage of the PVC as it circumscribes the burner centerline. The prevailing through-plane velocity of the swirling flow-field transports these fragments into the imaging plane of the OH-PLIF system. The lack of flame-kernel events near the center of the PVC (in which there is lower strain and longer fluid-dynamic residence times) indicates that auto-ignition is not a likely explanation for these flame kernels in a majority of cases. The lack of flame-kernel centroid variation in one flame in which there is no PVC further supports this explanation.
Experiments in Fluids – Springer Journals
Published: May 14, 2013
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